Revisiting the Arab Uprisings

The Politics of a Revolutionary Moment

Edited by Part of the CERI/Sciences Po. series
November 2018 9781849048873 288pp


Since 2013, the Middle East has experienced a double trend of chaos and civil war, on the one hand, and the return of authoritarianism, on the other. That convergence has eclipsed the political transitions that occurred in the countries whose regimes were toppled in 2011, as if they were merely footnotes to a narrative that naturally led from an ‘Arab Spring’ to an ‘Arab Winter’.

This volume aims at rehabilitating those transitions, by considering them as expressions of a ‘revolutionary moment’ whose outcome was never pre-determined, but depended on the choices of a large range of actors. It brings together leading scholars of Arab politics to adopt a comparative approach to a few crucial aspects of those transitions: constitutional debates, the question of transitional justice, the evolution of civil-military relations, and the role of specific actors, both domestic and international.


‘Gathering an impressive cast of leading scholars, the editors propose a rich and sophisticated picture of the Arab Spring’s aftermath, covering often contested and complex aspects of history in a careful and nuanced way.’ — Libyan Studies

‘An excellent contribution to the debate about the Arab uprisings.’ — Bustan: The Middle East Book Review

‘Though cast as seminal, the Arab Spring has produced uncertain effects. With mastery of larger trends and local circumstances, this discerning volume provides a rigorous focus on transitional social forces. Contributors persuasively warn against presumptions of both inevitable democratisation and engrained authoritarianism — an invaluable window onto a roiling post-Spring region.’ — James Piscatori, Professor of International Relations, Durham University, and co-author of Muslim Politics

‘This is an impressive volume, featuring original and thought-provoking contributions by some of the most astute observers of the contemporary Middle East. In a field crowded with studies of the 2011 uprisings, this book stands out for the breadth of its coverage, the depth of its analysis, and the quality of its scholarship.’ — Mehran Kamrava, Professor and Director of the Center for International and Regional Studies at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar, and author of Inside the Arab State

‘The Arab spring has triggered an emotional but short lived enthusiasm in the West; disappointment led to political and academic neglect of what was seen as an ephemeral event. This volume rehabilitates the Arab Spring as an essential moment by placing it in a long term perspective. A remarkable in-depth analysis by the best experts of an event which has definitively changed the strategic and political landscape of the region.’ — Olivier Roy, Professor, European University Institute, Florence and author of Jihad and Death: The Global Appeal of Islamic State

‘A stellar cast of leading scholars systematically explore the implications of the Arab Uprisings for the broader literature on political transitions. Revisiting the Arab Uprisings represents a hugely important advance in our understanding of these events by showing that it is impossible to reduce the aftermath of 2011 to simple narratives of either democratic progress or backsliding. Crucial reading for scholars of Middle East politics and comparative democratisation.’ — Peter Mandaville, Professor of Government and Politics, George Mason University


Stéphane Lacroix is an associate professor of Political Science at Sciences Po and a researcher at Sciences Po's Centre de Recherches Internationales (CERI). He is the co-author of Saudi Arabia in Transition (2015) and of Egypt's Revolutions (2016).

Jean-Pierre Filiu is Professor of Middle East Studies at Sciences Po in Paris, and has held visiting professorships at Columbia University and Georgetown University. He is the author of Gaza: A HistoryFrom Deep State to Islamic State and The Arab Revolution, all published by Hurst, and The Middle East: A Political History.

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